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Early Childhood Ed and Early Childhood Special Ed Licensure Overview


he goal of the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative – Early Childhood & Early Childhood Special Educator (VT-HEC – EC/ECSE) licensure programs is to increase the number of licensed educators in these fields.  These programs are specifically designed to be accessible and affordable for educators who are currently employed on a full-time basis.  Courses are provided on-site and online.  In order to build a peer support system, these programs use a cohort model.

Features of VT-HEC-EC/ECSE Tier 1 & 2 Programs

  • Graduate level Lyndon State College courses
  • Courses fulfill requirements to add an ECE or ECSE endorsement
  • The coursework lays the foundation for obtaining an Early Childhood or Early Childhood Special Education license through peer review
  • Licensure coursework lays the foundation for a Master’s Degree in education

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Courses of Study

The Vermont Higher Education Collaborative – Early Childhood & Early Special Educators (VT-HEC-EC/ECSE) program is a multi-tiered set of programs leading to educator licensure.

Tier 1 Program – EC or ECSE Endorsement

  • Designed for educators who currently possess or who are eligible for a Vermont educator license
  • Programs include courses needed to fulfill licensure competencies enabling the educator to add an ECE (18 credits) or ECSE (21 credits) endorsement
  • These EC/ECSE courses are graduate level courses

Tier 2 Program – EC or ECSE Initial License

  • For educators who have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in a related field
  • EC/ECSE programs are 21-30 credits; the specific number of courses will be based on the individual’s professional and academic background
  • Participants in the Tier 2 programs take the same courses as Tier 1; however in order for Tier 2 candidates to meet Vermont’s requirements for initial licensure, they must also complete a supervised student teaching experience and a licensure portfolio.
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Sequence of Courses and Course Descriptions

Early Childhood Educator Program:

  • Advanced Child Development
  • Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Education
  • Investigations in PreK – Grade 3 Science and Social Studies
  • Early Language and Literacy Development
  • Explorations in PreK – Grade 3 Mathematics
  • Teaching PreK – Grade 3 Language Arts
  • Student Teaching

Early Childhood Special Educator Program:

  • Advanced Child Development
  • Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Education
  • Introduction to Early Intervention/ Early Childhood Special Education
  • Early Language and Literacy
  • Assessment in Early Intervention/ Early Childhood Special Education
  • Planning, Supports, and Practices in Early Intervention/ Early Childhood Special Education
  • Collaboration and Consultation in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education
  • Student Teaching


Advanced Child Development  

Early Childhood (EC) and Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE) Endorsements

This course is designed to provide current and aspiring early childhood and early childhood special educators with an opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge of children’s typical and atypical development across all domains from conception through middle childhood. The course will assist educators to acquire an understanding of children by critically integrating their empirical, theoretical, and experiential knowledge about children into an in-depth study.
We will study child development from a historical perspective and examine the theories that have formed our interpretations of how and why children develop in both similar and unique ways. We will explore the cultural and familial contexts in which children develop, and the factors that impact their development through readings, discussions (actual and virtual), observations, and personal experiences. In addition, participants will develop a better understanding of research methods and refine their observational skills.In this course, participants will complete a Child Study, a piece of original research, in which participants compile, analyze, and interpret observations they have conducted of a target child throughout the semester. Through this culminating experience, participants will apply the knowledge they have learned.


Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood (EC) and Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE) Endorsements

This course has three major areas of focus: (1) historical background and discussion of various approaches to early childhood education, (2) early learning environments for children from infancy to kindergarten age, and (3) developmentally appropriate curriculum and instructional strategies. Students will examine how to design inclusive, safe and engaging physical and social environments that support children’s growth and development, and how we can support children’s learning and development by employing developmentally appropriate curricular design, instructional strategies, and assessment tools and processes.

In this course, students will study various philosophies in early childhood education and articulate their own philosophy of education. Students will learn how to plan curriculum that integrates various disciplines, including the visual arts and creative expression, and that is based on the Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS). Strategies for promoting young children’s presocial development and personal responsibility, and for including children of all abilities will be explored.


Investigations in PreK-Grade 3 Science and Social Studies

Early Childhood (EC) Endorsement

This course is required for individuals seeking the Early Childhood Educator endorsement. Students in this class will explore scientific content and concepts, and develop skills in scaffolding children’s scientific thinking and their use of the scientific inquiry process to acquire knowledge of the life, physical, earth, and environmental sciences, a In addition, participants will learn strategies for how to provide children with opportunities for exploration and use of historical, geographical, and social science tools and methods in order for them to learn about and connect with the larger community.


Introduction to Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education

Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE) Endorsement

This course is designed to provide students interested in obtaining the early childhood special educator endorsement with an introduction to the fields of early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE). It will focus on the following topics: historical perspectives of EI/ECSE and theoretical approaches to both; laws and regulations that govern EI and ECSE; professional roles, responsibilities, and ethics; and specific disabilities and their impact on young children’s development. In addition, this course will introduce and provide an overview of the special education evaluation process, eligibility determination, and the development of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).


Early Language and Literacy Development

Early Childhood (EC) and Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE) Endorsements

This course focuses on the nature of language development from infancy through grade three. It examines the developmental progression of phonology, semantics, morphology, syntax, and pragmatics as well as various theoretical perspectives on language development. The importance of family and relationships in children’s acquisition of language is a recurring theme. The cultural and linguistic aspects of first and second language acquisition and an overview of communication disorders will be discussed. The connections between oral speech and language skills to early literacy development and later literacy skills acquisition are examined. This includes the topics of phonemic awareness, symbolic representation, and early writing skills. Strategies for creating literate environments and using children’s literature to nurture oral language and literacy development will be explored.


Explorations in PreK-Grade 3 Mathematics

Early Childhood (EC) Endorsements

This course is designed to provide individuals with a deeper understanding of the foundational concepts of number and operations, measurement, geometry and spatial reasoning, examine how children develop these understandings, and explore ways of promoting mathematical reasoning in pre-K through grade three.

Individuals will have the opportunity to develop and implement appropriate assessment and instructional strategies in an early education setting, emphasizing the importance of establishing a culture in which mathematics occurs in relevant, authentic ways where children have the opportunity to reason, examine relationships and communicate their ideas with others.


Assessment in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education

Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE) Endorsement*

This course is designed to provide individuals seeking the early childhood special educator endorsement with an opportunity to integrate and reflect on theory and practice related to assessment practices with children from birth through age 6. We will examine the philosophical underpinnings and program components of providing federally mandated services to infants/toddlers and young children with diverse abilities and their families. Specifically, we will tackle the evaluation planning process. Individuals will have opportunities to learn various family and child assessment strategies and tools, practice implementing and reporting out a comprehensive evaluation.


Curriculum in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education 

Description coming soon…


Teaching Language Arts in PreK-Grade 3   

Early Childhood (EC) Endorsement

This course is designed for preschool through grade 3 teachers, Title One teachers, and others, including paraprofessionals who work with young students (PreK-3), and those who are working towards their Early Childhood Educator endorsement.  This course will be offered in a hybrid format with three Saturdays and the remaining time online. Students in this learning community are earning 3 credits (45 contact hours) through Lyndon State College.

This course is part of the course of study for teachers earning credits to apply for their endorsement in Early Childhood Education.  This course delves into how children construct knowledge about literacy and develop the ability to read and write.  It also focuses on how teachers can support the early literacy development of children in preschool, kindergarten and the primary grades by creating literacy rich environments and using developmentally appropriate instruction and assessment strategies.

Collaboration and Consultation in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education

Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE) Endorsements

Through face to face sessions and online work, this course will focus on the characteristics, processes, and roles associated with effective collaboration, teaming, consultation, facilitation, and communication within family, school, and community systems. We will specifically examine strategies for collaboration and consultation with families of children under the age 6 who have special needs and with the professionals and agencies involved in supporting the family and child.
In addition, we will examine family systems theory, diverse family structures, and the role of the family as the primary context for children’s development. The differences among families due to race, culture, language, poverty, and/or composition will be discussed so that early childhood professionals can understand and come to value each family’s unique strengths.

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Application and Admissions Requirements

Tier 1 requires that applicants possess or are eligible for a Vermont educator license.

Tier 2 applicants need to have a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts or a related area and at least three years experience.

Contact the program Coordinator, Manuela Fonseca, at [email protected] to request an application for the program.

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